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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mission Accomplished

Four years ago today, President Bush stood under a banner reading Mission Accomplished on board Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and gave a speech that declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq.

Invading a country that did not attack us was wrong. There were better ways to prevent Saddam Hussein from becoming a threat than storming into his country and killing the citizens of that country. See e.g. An Alternative to War for Defeating Saddam Hussein The invasion was immoral. It was a sin.

There is a price to be paid for this sin. And the question is simply one of how we will pay that price.
OPTION 1: We send hundreds of thousands of Americans to Iraq to actual secure the country while we spend billions of dollars to rebuild the infrastructure and create an economy there. We lose many Americans in attacks in Iraq in the meantime.
OPTION 2: We leave. The country that has become the ideal breeding ground for America haters produces a whole new crop of anti-American groups. We suffer several terrorist attacks over many years. We witness the death of many, many innocent Iraqis.
OPTION 3: We continue to ineffectually occupy Iraq, breeding even more hatred. We continue to lose American lives in the meantime. We suffer terrorist attacks once these group of America hater get organized. (Maybe slowed while we're there, maybe not.) Then we go to OPTION 2 after we grow tired of OPTION 3.

This is the fact of life reflected in the notion of a vengeful god. There is nothing we can do to avoid the consequences of this sin. I personally wish we could do OPTION 1. However, we don't seem to have the will for it.

Speaking of Abraham Lincoln, this is how he reflected on another national sin and the consequence of that sin:

Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A Vengeful God

I believe that the notions of a forgiving God and a vengeful God are related to realities of the human condition. Grace reflects the potential for dramatic, almost instantaneous turns for the better in our lives. Even the most wicked person can change and be a better person for it. Being a better person, means living a better life.

A murderer sitting in his jail cell can accept responsibility for his crimes, feel deep, legitimate remorse, and at that moment begin living the life of a good person. That such peace is available to even the murderer is a manifestation of Grace.

Similarly, there are consequence for our actions. No matter our good intentions. Even if we made a mistake. Consider a parent that walks away from a baby in a tub, and the baby drowns. His behavior, his actions, may have been no different than the actions of many others who did not experience this tragedy. Still, he caused the death and will be tormented and inconsolable as a result of his actions. That is a manifestation of a God's Wrath.

I do not believe that God caused the baby to drown. I do not believe that God loves the murderer more after he has changed his life. I think these are thoughts that were more appropriate in pre-scientific times when nature seemed to be a conscious actor.

I think we can recognize that God doesn't thrust tragedy upon and still retain an understanding that there are consequences for our actions. There is an application of this thinking to our political actions I will try to address later.